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Reduce childhood obesity with the help of desserts!

June 10, 2011

A recent study confirms that desserts with a low GI Index help reduce childhood obesity.

A recent study presented at the 93rd Annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston by the Athens University of Medicine has showed that overweight girls were more likely to lose weight and stay on a healthy diet if they eat low GI desserts several times a week rather than eat their choice of one dessert a week (which usually is high GI and has a high fat content).

Antonia Dastamani, MD, PhD, a pediatrician and research fellow at Athens University School of Medicine in Athens, Greece said

Dieters commonly splurge on dessert once a week, usually choosing fattening items. However, we found a positive effect of more frequent consumption of desserts that have a low glycemic index and low glycemic load. Studies suggest that low GI/GL diets have a positive effect on weight control and improving insulin resistance.

Obesity can cause insulin resistance, in which the body does not properly use the hormone insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels and sets the stage for development of diabetes. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and with that comes a risk of diabetes and heart disease at an incredibly young age. Children are more sedentary these days with the increase use of online entertainment. Food choices have changed with more processed packaged food available on the supermarket shelves and in the freezer. Portion sizes over the years have become larger, ultimately leading to weight gain. Diet programs for children are tricky, though, because you don’t want them to be part of the statistics of those who lose and gain over and over again. You also have to consider kids’ ages and their ability to deal with self- esteem issues regarding body image.

The recent study by the Athens University of Medicine confirms that a low-glycemic diet can be a good solution for parents looking to help their children with weight loss because

  • It promotes a healthy long-term relationship with food.
  • It doesn’t restrict calorie levels too much or limit their carbohydrate levels while they’re growing and active.
  • Low-glycemic foods can be used in moderation so children can feel like they’re living a normal life and not like they’re being put on a “diet.”
  • There’s no need for kids to eat “diet” foods that may make them feel uncomfortable around others their age.
  • It can lower children’s risk for diabetes and heart disease.
  • It can easily be incorporated into kids’ lifestyles without drastic changes.

The trick is however to get a child started on a low GI diet. And this is not hard. Here are some tips from Meri Raffetto, RD, LDN Starting a child on a low-glycemic diet.

  • Be moderate with your approach. Putting a child on a strict diet will make him miserable and can cause him to fixate on food in an unhealthy way. You get better results with moderation, and you set your child up to have a healthy relationship with food.
  • Make it a family plan. Incorporate the low-glycemic diet for everyone so your child doesn’t feel singled out. Making a child eat pearl barley while everyone else gets pasta is hard on him emotionally and can impact his self-esteem.
  • Encourage fun activities. Strict exercise regimens can make your child end up hating exercise later on in life. Instead of going the strict route, encourage fun activities such as bike riding, swimming, or just getting some old-fashioned play time outside.
  • Avoid dieting language.

You can influence your child’s weight without putting too much attention on the scale. This approach helps kids naturally develop new habits instead of feeling bad about their bodies or that something’s wrong with them.

Nushie’s Natural Ice Creamery is a low GI dessert, all organic and gluten and lactose free. It is certainly a fabulous option for those seeking to move to a low GI diet or simply eat healthily.

Sources:
Science Daily
Eurekalert.

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